Eternity skulks between mile markers on I-65. It taunts you with its vacuous stare as you fly past the Munfordville exit in Kentucky at 82 MPH. It smirks at you as you roll past Scottsburg, Indiana, a Walmart Supercenter looming like a monstrosity’s incarnate bellow just west of the freeway. It yawns in utter disregard as you espy signage for Zionsville—no heavenly city on a hill here, it pantomimes. Just the unremarkable halfway point in your journey home. 

To be frank, the trip from Nashville to Milwaukee is rather easy to swallow when you’re sipping a ginger ale on ice from the aisle seat aboard a Boeing 737. But we were in a Jeep Wrangler. And I didn’t even have a ginger ale. 

I felt like Odysseus in the backseat, though not the famed Homerean hero whose adventures enthralled so many an ancient Greek. It was as if I was a retconned version of the mythological figure, reimagined by a post-modern Samuel Beckett into a theater of the absurd. An ailing 41-year-old anti-hero who suffers chronic back pain and a short attention span. 

Flanked by coworkers who were making the most of the drive, I sat in the back, silently suffering back spasms. The 90-degree angle of the seat wreaked havoc on my posture for what became an 11-hour car ride (shout out to Chicago’s rush hour). I forced my forehead against the cool tinted glass window and watched the landscape whip by me in one hurried, preposterous scroll, occasionally glancing down at the book in my lap, The White Darkness by David Grann, to read about (in short bursts) the harrowing antarctic expedition of Henry Worsley. 


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Get wet, you die was Worsley’s mantra. A phrase that doesn’t imply a very large margin of error. It’s not supposed to, I guess. Those are words to live by, after all—or die by, depending on how you look at them. Henry Worsley, a retired British Army officer, attempting at 55 to accomplish what his hero, Ernest Shackleton, couldn’t a century earlier: trek across the hulking continent of Antarctica, from one end to the other, entirely on foot.